Community Programs

Creatures of the Night…
Hike!

August 25

Saturday, August 25th
7:30pm – 9:00pm

How do your nighttime senses compare to those of the nocturnal animals that call NCNC home? Join us for a guided night hike and try your hand at our naturalist-led challenges to find out! First we’ll put your night vision to the test to find out if you can see as well as an owl in the dark. Then we’ll focus on your sense of smell, hearing and touch!

Pre-registration by Thursday, August 23rd at 12pm is REQUIRED.

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Cider
Saturday

September 15

Saturday, September 15th
11:00am – 3:00pm

Celebrate the fall cider season here at NCNC! Come and enjoy an early autumn afternoon of family fun with cider press demonstrations, old-fashioned games, a pumpkin scavenger hunt, seasonal harvest crafts for kids, baked apples, and corn bread on a stick. Fill your bellies with delicious corn dogs, grilled corn, fresh cider, and baked goodies, all available for purchase.

You also won’t want to miss our, new for 2018, Apple Olympics! At 11:30am and 1:30pm, join us on the Green to see if you have what it takes to complete our Pollination Relay Race, get a strike while Bowling for Apples, score a three-pointer at Apple Hoops, and crush the competition during our first ever Cider Donut Eating Contest!

Pre-register online or purchase tickets at the door!

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Halloween
Spooktacular

October 26

Friday, October 26th
6:30pm – 8:30pm

Get into the Halloween spirit by joining us for this spooktacular celebration, NCNC-style. We’ll learn about and meet some creepy critters who remind us of All Hallows Eve (spiders, bats, snakes, & more), before getting the chance to make our very own slime. We’ll wrap up the evening by enjoying a spooky & interactive Halloween story and a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern experience.

3rd Annual Jack-o-Lantern Carving Contest

Carve a pumpkin at home with your family and bring it in to the NCNC Visitor Center on Wednesday, October 24, or Thursday, October 25, any time from 9am-3pm. Each pumpkin must be accompanied by a registration form (see below or pick up a copy in our Visitor Center beginning in September).

Leave it to our naturalists to set the scene and then join us for the grand finale of our Halloween Spooktacular as we take a daring walk through the woods to visit your creepy creations. At the end of this spooky stroll, each Spooktacular participant will get the chance to vote for their favorite Jack-o-Lantern. 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded and announced via email the following week.

Costumes encouraged & welcome!

This is not a drop off program – all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Spaces for this popular event are limited & advanced registration is highly recommended!

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Awesome
Autumn Day

November 6

Tuesday, November 6th
1:00pm – 3:00pm

Vote for Nature on Election Day! Come on over to NCNC to enjoy a beautiful autumn day with your kids and the NCNC naturalists. Frolic in the leaves and take part in field games, such as pumpkin ring toss, corn hole, and parachute games, anytime from 1-3pm. Naturalists will also be leading autumn-themed relay races across the Green! At 1:30pm and 2:30pm get up close & personal with several of our awesome animal ambassadors.

Looking for even more excitement? Have a picnic lunch on the Green, visit our Children’s Play Garden, try your hand at our Awesome Autumn Scavenger Hunt, or enjoy one of our many Self-Guided Activities, such as Letterboxing. Stop by the Visitor Center Front Desk anytime from 9AM-4PM for more information or to borrow one of our Favorite Flora & Fauna of NCNC Guide Books.

This is a FREE drop-in program!

Thanksgiving
Weekend Waddle

November 24

Saturday, November 24th
Naturalist-led Trail Treks depart the Sugar Shack at 10:00am & 11:00am

Grab the entire family (and any lingering holiday visitors too!) and head on down to the New Canaan Nature Center! Join the NCNC Naturalists for a healthy, invigorating Trail Trek to work off that holiday meal. As an extra Thanksgiving bonus, after our hike, you’ll also get to enjoy a FREE behind the scenes tour of our Animal Care facilities & Birds of Prey Exhibit – our way of saying “thank you” to the community.

This is a FREE drop-in program! 
*Donations are greatly appreciated.*

Winter
Wonderland

December 15

Saturday, December 15th
11:00am – 2:00pm

Come and be transported into a whole new world as the New Canaan Nature Center transforms into a Winter Wonderland filled with fun and exciting winter holiday activities for the entire family. We hope you will join us to enjoy the warm festive feel the Nature Center puts on this time of year!

Included with admission

  • Visits & Photos with Santa from 11:30am until 2:00pm (pets are allowed!)
  • Holiday Trains – you won’t want to miss our giant model train that depicts the town of New Canaan and more!
  • Campfire complete with chestnut & marshmallow roasting
  • Caroling with the Bojangler’s of Connecticut
  • Holiday Crafts for kids
  • Reindeer Games: ring the reindeer antlers, feed the snowman, and more!
  • Wacky Winterland scavenger hunt
  • 6th Annual Family Gingerbread House Creation Contest!! (Limited spaces will be available for contests at 12pm and 1pm)

Additional Cost

  • Horse-drawn Wagon Rides “Over the Green and through the Woods” – additional $5/person charge (weather pending)
  • “Red & Green Cafe” with grilled cheese, soup, & hot beverages (such as cocoa & coffee) available for purchase!

Pre-register online or purchase tickets at the door!

Members: $10/child with parent/caregiver
Non-Members: $15/child with parent/caregiver
Adults & Children Under 2: FREE

Holiday
Break Programs

December 17 – 21, 2018

Monday – Friday, December 17th – 21st
9:00am – 12:00pm
Optional Lunch Bunch from 12:00pm-1:00pm

For children, ages 3-5 only!

Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of wintry adventures throughout our 40-acre preserve and celebrate the holiday season in true NCNC fashion as nature intended.

Each day, your child will delve into the different aspects of the wonderland that is the nature center, while they traverse the property and let nature surround them.  Daily themes include topics such as:

    • Animals in Winter
    • Nocturnal Animals
    • Nature’s Signs of the Season
    • Over the Green and Through the Woods
    • Tracks & Trails

Daily activities are subject to change based on daily weather forecasts.  All programs emphasize hands-on outdoor activities and engaging nature games/crafts geared toward the season so come prepared to be outdoors for some fun!

Healthy snack and drink will be provided.

Extend the fun and join us for Lunch Bunch each day from 12pm-1pm (just bring your own lunch)!

*Online registration coming soon!*

Members: $300/child for all 5 days
Non-Members: $375/child for all 5 days
Optional Lunch Bunch: 125/child for all 5 days

Owl Moon
Night Hike

 January 12, 2019

Let the light of the FULL moon be your guide as we explore magic in the woods and unravel the mysteries of our nocturnal neighbors, the owls. We’ll discover how owls use their keen senses to navigate the night and learn first-hand how they can hunt in the dark. We’ll even “give a hoot” and see if we can identify owls by their tell-tale calls, before getting to meet a couple owls up close & personal.

Adopt-a-Tree:
Community Syruping Program

January 26, 2019

Adopt a maple tree for the season! Learn about and participate weekly in the entire syrup making process, from tapping a maple tree to sap collections and boil downs. You’ll even get your very own bottle of NCNC-made maple syrup at our Pot-luck dinner in March.

Participants then collect sap 1-3 times a week (depending on sap flow conditions) for the entire syrup season (typically 4-6 weeks) and take part in boil downs where REAL maple syrup is made right here at NCNC.

Winter
Break Programs

February 2019

Out of school and looking for some wintry fun in the great outdoors? Come down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of winter-themed adventures throughout the 40-acre expanse of NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

Syrup Saturday:
A Pancakes & PJ’s Party

March 9, 2019

Bring the whole family and join us for our annual end of syrup season celebration – you won’t want to miss our famously delicious Pancakes & PJ’s party, complete with TONS of fun syrup-related activities! We’ll be serving up flapjacks, syrup, and an array of tasty toppings in the Visitor Center, while leading tree tapping demos, a real maple sap “boil down,” campfire with marshmallows, real v. fake syrup taste test, and NEW maple syrup Instagram scavenger hunt.

All are welcome and encouraged to dress in their PJ’s!

Spring Fling
Break Programs

April 2019

Out of school and looking for some spring fun and adventure? Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff guide you on a variety of seasonal adventures throughout the 40-acres of forests, fields, and ponds at NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

The Great Egg Hunt &
Spring Celebration

April 18, 19 & 20, 2019

Perfect for children, ages 2-10, our egg hunts are designed for smaller groups (approximately 25 per hunt) and, in addition to the hunt, include an egg & spoon obstacle course and meet & greet with our baby chicks & bunny rabbits. Just BYOB (bring your own basket) for collecting eggs (which contain nature-themed prizes and nut-free sweets).

All Egg Hunts are rain or shine.

Spring Peepers
Night Hike

April 27, 2019

Come explore the magic of spring and Earth Week with us! We’ll visit the Nature Center’s vernal pools and ponds to listen for the peeps and croaks of frogs and other amphibians that let us know spring is in full swing. We’ll also journey through the woods and into the meadows in search of some awesome invertebrates, birds, and bats.

Earth Day
Celebration

April 22, 2019

Come celebrate Earth Day with us on April 22nd! An annual world-wide event, join us to learn what you can do locally to help protect the environment.

Community Garden:
Adopt-a-Plot

May – November

The 2018 Community Garden is SOLD OUT!

“Adopt” a plot in our community garden for the growing season (May-November)! Our community garden provides a shared space in which local residents can  tend a plot of land, learn together, and share in an appreciation of the outdoors and gardening.

Each 4×4 foot plot is located within a fenced-in area near the Herb Garden and all participants will have access to tools, watering facilities, and community guidance. The perfect opportunity for novices and experienced gardeners, alike!

Gardeners are required to attend 2 Pitch-In Days to help with maintaining the garden throughout the season.

At the end of the season, gardeners are invited to a celebration Pot-Luck dinner (date is TBD) where all are encouraged to share a dish comprised of the produce grown throughout the year.

We hope you will become a part of our family of community gardeners!

Great American
Campout

June 22-23, 2019

Join us for an evening full of fun and adventure by camping out in New Canaan’s favorite backyard!

Participants are welcome to set-up their tents in the afternoon between 3:30-5:30pm. From 5:30-7:30pm, we’ll provide a classic camping-style barbecue dinner of hot dogs, grilled corn & chips (with watermelon for dessert). Lemonade and water will be available for all ages; adults are welcome to BYOB. As folks are finishing up the tasty treats from the grill, all are invited to enjoy field games, music and all around fun on the Green!

As the sun begins to set, get ready for the night time adventure to begin. We’ll fire up the campfire ring and head off into the darkness for a special early summer night hike experience. Upon our return we’ll be sure to fill our bellies with some fireside S’mores before dozing off to sleep.

In the morning, awake to fog over the meadow, deer browsing nearby and the promise of another magical day! A light breakfast of bagels, juice, and coffee will also be served.

Just bring your own tents, camp gear, and snacks, we’ll provide the rest! Access to bathrooms will be available through the night.

Night of 1,000 Fireflies:
A Night Hike

July 2019

Come and enjoy the magic of the midsummer night at the Nature Center. Join our Naturalists as we search for woodland creatures (wiggly worms & aquatic amphibians) and other enchanted mysteries of the evening, before delighting in the awe-inspiring beauty of our meadows aglow with the soft light of 1,000+ fireflies!